Crested Gecko

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Species group:

Other common names: New Caledonian Crested Gecko; New Caledonian Eyelash Gecko; Eyelash Gecko; Crested; Crestie

Scientific name: Rhacodactylus ciliatus

The basics:
The Crested Gecko’s journey from “presumed extinct” in the mid 1990’s to being one of the world’s most popular lizard pets is most unique – and fortunate for both the lizard and its fans! “Innate charm”, extreme hardiness, and the ability to thrive on a simple commercial diet render these nocturnal beauties as an ideal choice for novice and experienced keepers alike.

Crested Geckos are found only on the New Caledonian islands of Grand Terre and Isle of Pines, where they are limited to small areas of mountainside tropical rainforest. Nocturnal and arboreal, Crested Geckos forage in shrubs and trees, usually staying within 10 feet of ground level. They are threatened by habitat loss and introduced predators such as rats and ants.

Appearance / health:
The stout body is adorned with a raised crest along each side of the back, above the eyes and on some parts of the limbs. The head is uniquely-triangular in shape and the tail, which is prehensile, does not regenerate if lost. Six to eight inches long when fully grown, Crested Geckos may be red, gray, yellow brown or green in color and sport stripes, white or yellow-tipped crests or no pattern at all. A number of striking color morphs have been produced by breeders.

Given proper care, Crested Geckos are extremely hardy and may live for nearly 20 years in captivity. Intestinal blockages caused by ingested substrate or by diets high in mealworms and are sometimes a concern. Metabolic bone disease may occur in animals that are not provided with ample calcium and/or Vitamin D3.

Behavior / temperament:
Young and newly-acquired adult Crested Geckos can be skittish, and will quickly leap from one’s hand if frightened. The tail will snap off if grabbed and, oddly for a gecko, will not re-grow. Most accept gentle handling, but care must be taken to avoid unexpected leaps and falls.

An adult or pair should be provided with a 20 gallon “high style” or larger terrarium stocked with branches, plants and vines. Crested Geckos do not usually fare well in bare terrariums. Live plants provide sight-barriers, and their leaf clusters make naturalistic retreats; cork bark rolls wedged among branches also work well. The substrate may be a mix of top soil and sphagnum moss or a terrarium liner.

Crested Geckos absorb Vitamin D3 from their diet, and so do not need a UVB light source. They require a temperature gradient of 78-82 F; a dip to 72 F at night is beneficial but not essential. Large enclosures will allow your pet to thermo-regulate by moving from hot to cooler areas. This behavior is important to long-term health, and is usually not possible in small cages. Humidity should be kept at 50-75%, but there must be dry areas available as well. Males cannot be housed together. Females will establish a dominance hierarchy, so groups must be monitored carefully.

Little research has been carried out regarding the food items consumed by wild Crested Geckos. However, commercial Crested Gecko Diets have yielded excellent results used as 100% of the food intake. Pets can also be offered crickets, roaches, sow bugs, lab-reared house flies, silk worms, calci-worms and other commercially-available species, if desired, in addition to the commercial diet. Insects should themselves be provided with a nutritious diet for 1-3 days before being offered to your pets. Mealworms, implicated in intestinal blockages, should be avoided or used only when recently-molted (white in color. Insects should be powdered with a calcium/VitaminD3 supplement.

Mature male Crested Geckos exhibit a bulge (indicating the hemipenes) on either side of the cloaca. Breeders should be 12-18 months old and weigh at least 35 grams. Your pets may breed without temperature manipulation, but more consistent results will be had by subjecting them to 4-6 week period of cooler temperatures (65 F by night, 70 F by day) and a reduced day length of 8-10 hours.

The eggs, usually 2 in number, are deposited on or just below the substrate, within leaf whorls of live plants or in a cave stocked with damp moss. Females may produce eggs year-round; in such cases, a Calcium supplement should be added to the commercial diet. The eggs can be incubated in a mix of 1 part vermiculite to 1 part water (by weight) at 70-76 F for 65-120 days.

Written by Frank Indiviglio


good eaters, mild temperment, gorgeous colors, stunning specimens, colorful beauties


impactions, nocturnal lizard, husbandry, fat tails, defense mechanism, handling, proper nutrition


eyelashes, gigantic eyes, change color, arboreal animals, convenient powdered diet

Crested Gecko Behavior Tip

Crested Gecko

From witchybelle4u2 Jun 5 2015 6:13AM


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